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Terrestrial HD Antenna Sales Spike For Rio Olympics

More evidence that Americans are increasingly cutting the cable cord: Channel Master announced that for the weekend prior to the Olympic opening ceremonies, July 30 and 31, the company experienced a 1,200 percent increase in TV antenna sales through direct online orders.

“When we came in Monday and realized what was happening, we immediately picked up the phone and tripled the number of warehouse personnel,” said Coty Youtsey, president and CEO of Channel Master. “It was clear that U.S. households without pay TV were buying antennas to be able to watch the Olympics.”

The Olympics are carried by NBC and available for free from a television antenna. Public awareness of free over-the-air broadcast television continues to grow as more consumers seek alternatives to pay TV. Traditionally, Americans have been much less aware of the existence of free over-the-air TV than other parts of the world, where it is commonly referred to as terrestrial television.

Research from GfK shows that more Americans now use TV antennas than subscribe to any individual pay-TV provider. Comcast, the nation’s largest, has an estimated 22.2 million video subscribers, while an estimated 24 million U.S. households are using a TV antenna. An estimated 29 million U.S. households do not currently subscribe to a TV service, according to GfK.

In addition to antennas, Channel Master said it provides a subscription-free DVR that gives customers a cable-like TV experience with the ability to pause, rewind and record live TV from a TV antenna, a 14-day program guide, streaming services and live Internet channels.

DEG Names Mike Dunn New Chairman

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group has named its new board of directors and officers for its 20th year as the home entertainment industry’s trade association.

New to the DEG board are Bill Sondheim of Cinedigm, Ron Geller of Dolby Laboratories, Jeffrey Lawrence of Intel and Jim Kiczek of Samsung Electronics.

The officers of the DEG Board were elected to a two-year term and include: former vice chair, Mike Dunn of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, who will now serve as chair; Matt Strauss of Comcast Cable, who will serve as vice chair; Sofia Chang of HBO, who will continue to serve as chief financial officer; and Mike Fasulo of Sony Electronics, who will continue as secretary.

In recognition of his tenure and significant contribution as former chair, the board of directors has appointed Ron Sanders of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution to serve as ex-officio. These officers are responsible for providing leadership and oversight of the DEG’s agenda.

Also announced by the DEG was a change in leadership of its communications committee. For the coming fiscal year, the committee will be chaired by James Finn of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Walt Disney Studios’ Liz West will serve as vice chair.

DEG membership is comprised of: Amazon, Anchor Bay Entertainment, BBC AMERICA, BitMax, CenturyLink, Cinedigm Entertainment, Comcast Cable, Com- Score, DTS, Deloitte, Deluxe Digital, DirecTV, Dolby Laboratories, DreamWorks Animation, Giant Interactive, Giraffic Technologies, GfK Entertainment, Gibson Brands, Google Play, HBO Home Entertainment, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, IHS, IMAX, Intel, Irdeto, Kaleidescape, LG Electronics USA, Lionsgate, MAI, Mediamorph, MGM, Microsoft, Midnight Oil, MovieLabs, Music Watch, My Eye Media, Neustar Media, Nielsen Entertainment, The NPD Group, One+K, The Orchard, Outpost Media, Panasonic, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Parrot Analytics, PBS Distribution, Philips Electronics, Playster, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Random Media, Redbox, Rovi, Samsung Electronics, Screen Engine/ASI, ScreenPlay, SellThruCo, Sony DADC, Sony Electronics, Sony Music Entertainment, Technicolor, TiVo, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Universal Operations Group, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, V2Solutions, Verizon Digital Media Services, Vubiquity, W2O Group, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Western Digital.

Home Entertainment Spending Grows 6 Percent In Q2

Consumer spending on home entertainment products was strong for the second quarter of 2016, rising 6 percent from the year earlier period, according to The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG).

Boding well for the home entertainment industry was the continuing shift by consumers to next-generation 4K Ultra HD TVs, which in turn is expected to drive purchases of new 4K content. To date, more than eight million 4K Ultra HD TVs have been sold.

Among the highlights for the second quarter, according to DEG:

• Total U.S. home entertainment spending was more than $4.3 billion for the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date total to $8.9 billion, two percent higher than in the first half of 2015.
• Purchases of physical and digital content were up more than 4 percent to $1.7 billion for the quarter pointing to consumers’ continued desire to add content to their collections.
• Overall physical sales grew three percent with Blu-ray Disc particularly robust with 35 percent growth for the quarter over the same period last year.
• An additional 1.4 million 4K Ultra HD TVs were sold in the U.S. market, up 119 percent from the second quarter of 2015 and bringing the total number of sets purchased to more than eight million. More than 45 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray title releases were available in the first half of the year with impressive sales of some 288,000.
• Digital HD – or electronic sell-through - grew nearly 9 percent in the quarter, driven by theatrical content which was up nearly 20 percent for the first half of the year due to a strong slate of new releases.
• Video On Demand platforms continued to grow in the period, up more than 7 percent for the quarter, consistent with first quarter growth.
• HDTV penetration is approaching the number of U.S. households. The DEG estimates that 95 percent – 104.1 million - of all U.S. homes have at least one HDTV. All Blu-ray playback devices (including set-tops and game consoles) are in more than 85 million U.S. households.”

CVS Launches Mobile Payment System

CVS has launched its own mobile payment system, known fittingly as CVS Pay.

The system, which is integrated with the retailer’s iOS and Android mobile app, enables mobile payment and access to its ExtraCare loyalty program in one place. To use CVS Pay, consumers add their credit or debit cards in the CVS Pharmacy app. When they are ready to purchase items, store associates will scan the barcode on their phone. It is compatible with MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express credit and debit cards, as well as all Health Savings Account and Flexible Spending Account cards.

The system is currently available in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware; a nationwide rollout is slated for later this year.

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